By Emma Waterhouse
This week’s news includes fun facts from the new top British baby name data, name inspiration from the football pitch to the pizza parlor, and an out-of-this-world naming challenge for the Teenberries out there…
Best of Top British Baby Names: making a splash across the pond
Oh frabjous day! The England & Wales top baby name data for 2018 is finally out, and Oliver and Olivia held on to the #1 spots for the sixth and third years running.
But, as ever, it’s the names a little further down the top British baby name list that make for the most interesting analysis. Our friend Elea over at British Baby Names highlights some of the hottest rising stars of the past year, like quirky o-ending girl names Meadow, Juno and Indigo, and short, sharp boy names Odin, Ace and Jett. Both categories we’ve had our eye on for a while!
For the first time this year, the ONS also provided a breakdown of the most popular names by mother’s age. There’s a fair amount of overlap, of course, but also some fascinating wildcards: who knew that Leonardo and Maximilian were so popular with the over-35s? Or Vinnie and Kevin — yes, Kevin! — with the under-25s?
And before we get bogged down in all the stats, here’s a little light relief: parenting website Mumsnet has analyzed more than 170,000 forum posts to come up with their thirteen “Baby Name Tribes” — which one do you belong to?
The success of high-risers Arthur and Ada — which are new to the England & Wales Top 10 and Top 100, respectively — has been credited to the BBC drama series Peaky Blinders, set in the early 1920s. TV and film are always a popular source of baby name inspiration, but we love hearing about less conventional baby-naming backstories, like those behind Violet Shion and Sky Lark’s sweet nature-inspired names.
And who’d have guessed that there were so many Brazilians called Lineker? A tribute to English footballer-turned-sports-broadcaster Gary Lineker, this Anglo-Saxon surname is now borne by at least three professional players in Brazil, plus more than 600 others born since his 1980s heyday!
If you’ve ever struggled for baby name inspiration, imagine how this couple must have felt when they discovered they were expecting all-girl quintuplets! Here, Adam and Danielle Busby from TLC’s OutDaughtered explain how they settled on each of their six daughters’ names. Proof if ever it were needed that names don’t have to be wildly uncommon to be packed full of personal meaning.
Spotted: name nerds at large
… Or perhaps you’d relish the chance to name five girls at once? Add it to the list of 19 SIgns You’re Obsessive About Names!
What is it about baby names that you find so fascinating? Is it, as this writer suggests, an exercise in self-invention, albeit imaginary? Do you ever wonder if having a different name would have changed who you are as a person?
Or, do you just love the challenge of finding the perfect fit? We think these tongue-in-cheek solutions to fictional baby naming conundrums are actually pretty on-point!
Bold and Beautiful Birth Announcements
Have you seen the latest Babyberry birth announcements? From Elowen and Eowyn to Orin and Oslo, August gave us some absolutely stunning new names and sibsets to swoon over! And there were some beautiful picks this week in Elea’s roundup of British birth announcements, too: Rohan, Casper and Fyn on the boys’ side, and Connie, Pippa and Graziella on the girls’.
In celebrity name news, country singer Dylan Scott became a dad for the second time this week to sweetly named new daughter Finley Gray — his wife, interestingly, also sports a cool unisex moniker: Blair.
Unusual Names: a blessing or a curse?
Gender-neutral naming is becoming more and more commonplace nowadays, as parents turn to ever more unique word, nature and surname names in an effort to ensure that their child will be the only one in their class… or even state! But what is it actually like to have a very unusual name, or one which subverts gender norms?
In Australia, one man with the largely feminine-leaning name of Courtney has turned it to his advantage, giving seminars on gender bias in the workplace. But in other areas of life, an unfamiliar name can be a source of constant annoyance, or even offence — like the Starbucks customer named Aziz who had “Isis” scrawled on his coffee cup. (And while we’re on that subject, who can forget this gem?)
Recent research shows that people really do make snap judgements based on names, even at the most basic phonetic level. What do the sounds in your name say about you?
NASA Naming Challenge: calling all Teenberries!
A fun one to finish: here’s a fantastic opportunity for our younger readers to make their mark (literally,!) on space exploration history. NASA has recently launched a competition to , to follow in the tyre tracks of Spirit, Opportunity and Curiosity. It’s open to all US students from kindergarten to 12th grade, and runs until November 1st. Time to get your thinking caps on!
Emma Waterhouse — better known as @katinka around these parts — joined the team in 2017, writing about everything from pregnancy and birth to unique baby names from fiction and fantasy. As Nameberry’s head moderator, she also helps to keep our active Forums community ticking. A linguist by background, Emma speaks six languages and lives in England’s smallest county with her husband and three young children. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.